VIERA, Fla. – Stephen Strasburg contended with some nerves and location issues during his spring-training debut Tuesday. Other than that, he was pretty impressive.

Strasburg threw two scoreless innings in the Washington Nationals’ 9-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers, responding well to the hoopla surrounding his first exhibition start.

“There was a lot of adrenaline flowing today,” he said. “It’s just great to get my feet wet because I know what to expect next time.”

Strasburg threw 15 of his 27 pitches for strikes and allowed two hits — successive two-out singles by Don Kelly and Alex Avila in the second. But he finished off Brent Dlugach with a bending, 81 mph breaking ball for an inning-ending strikeout.

“I just wanted to go out there and throw strikes,” Strasburg said. “If they hit it, they hit it. Big deal. I have enough confidence in my stuff that if I can go out there and make them put the ball in play, I’ve got a great defense behind me that’s going to back me up.”

Strasburg was selected with the No. 1 pick in last year’s draft and received a record $15.1 million, four-year contract from the Nationals. He went 13-1 in his final season with San Diego State, leading Division I in ERA (1.35) and strikeouts (195 in 109 innings).

 

METS: Johan Santana struggled in his first game since August, allowing four runs on six hits in 12/3 innings, and Houston beat New York 8-4 at Port St. Lucie, Fla.

• Shortstop Jose Reyes has an overactive thyroid and is expected to remain in New York while the results of additional blood tests are used to determine his treatment.

• Right-hander Mike Pelfrey returned after being sidelined by a sore right leg.

 

WILLIE DAVIS, a speedy center fielder who collected two World Series rings, three Gold Gloves and was a two-time All-Star during his 14 seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, died at 69.

 

YANKEES: Hal Steinbrenner, the managing general partner, said the team won’t alter its policy against contract extensions, and will deal with Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Joe Girardi after the season.

• Mark Newman, the team’s senior vice president of baseball operations, was charged with driving under the influence in Tampa, Fla.

 

ORIOLES: Second baseman Brian Roberts felt ill, hampering his rehabilitation for a back injury.

 

BLUE JAYS: Right-hander Dustin McGowan, trying to make it back from shoulder surgery, threw 30 pitches during a simulated game at the minor league complex while the rest of the team had the day off.

 

RAYS: Hank Blalock, a two-time All-Star, agreed to a minor league contract with Tampa Bay.

 

RANGERS-YANKEES: Texas acquired right-hander Edwar Ramirez from New York for cash.

 

ROYALS: Catcher Jason Kendall returned to spring training, and said his divorce and child custody case won’t be a distraction.

• Rick Ankiel homered and drove in four runs as Kansas City rallied from a five-run deficit to defeat an Oakland split-squad 11-10 at Surprise, Ariz.

 

GIANTS: Second baseman Freddy Sanchez began taking swings off a tee and considers himself ahead of schedule as he recovers from a procedure on his non-throwing left shoulder.

 

RANGERS: Rich Harden, in his second outing with Texas, gave up four runs on two hits in 22/3 innings. He struck out four, walked three and threw a wild pitch in an 8-8 tie with an Oakland split-squad at Phoenix.

 

ANGELS: Hideki Matsui made his spring debut for Los Angeles, getting a single in two trips to the plate during a 6-5 victory against San Diego at Tempe, Ariz.

 


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